THE VERDICT IS IN ON GUITARIST JAY STEWART’S
ROCKIN’ BLUES/JAZZ DRIVEN DEBUT
‘ENJOY THE RIDE’:
GREGG ALLMAN SAYS
“THIS IS MUSIC PEOPLE SHOULD HEAR!”
The Georgia Based Superior Court Judge’s Long Awaited
Debut As A Recording Artist Was Helmed By
GrammyWinning Producer and Emmy Nominated Composer Jason
Miles and Features Performances By Session Greats
Neil Jason and Brian Dunne and Renowned Jazz Artists
David Mann and Cindy Bradley
Ever wonder what happens after the jury reaches a verdict and the judge says “Court is adjourned”? If you’re in the courtroom of Georgia Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart, it’s probably a lot of musical jamming—the kind of rock, blues and jazz infused energy that the lifelong guitarist shares on his highly anticipatd debut as a recording artist, Enjoy The Ride.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Stewart is finally stepping out, breaking all sorts of molds and taking center stage with his array of electric and acoustic guitars. Growing up in rural Southern Georgia, the Savannah area native was always the hippest kid in town, “the only white kid in Claxton copping licks from the Ohio Players.” After years of dreaming about it, he’s inviting fans of the pop, rock, blues and jazz he grew up with to enter the courtroom after hours. Like the 10 infectious, soul-simmering tunes on the collection, the ride is a little bumpy, a lot of funky and loads of fun.
And who’s going to argue with the endorsement of Stewart’s longtime friend (and now fan), legendary Southern rocker Gregg Allman, who says, “This is music people should hear”?
Though he includes a few more laid back acoustic numbers, for most of the ride, Stewart jams
with a batch of the coolest session cats around, led by Grammy winning producer and Emmy nominated composer Jason Miles—whose deep history includes recordings with Luther Vandross, Miles Davis, Sting and his own world jazz fusion band Global Noize. The basic tracks of Enjoy The Ride were recorded live in a single day—with one or two takes for each tune--at Bennett Studios in Englewood, New Jersey with Stewart being joined by Miles, bassist Neil
Jason (Cyndi Lauper, Paul McCartney, John Lennon) and drummer Brian Dunne (Hall & Oates, Chuck Loeb). Lead and acoustic guitar tracks were recorded at Frank Farr Productions in Statesboro, Georgia.
Also in the mix are famed saxophonist and recording artist David Mann; popular contemporary jazz trumpeter Cindy Bradley; conguero Jimmy Bralower; and Barry Danielan, who played trumpet and did horn arrangements on “Blues For The Road,” a high energy spin on Mother Earth’s 1971 hit featuring Josh Dion’s soulful lead vocals and one of Stewart’s trademark blistering solos. Mike Mattison, frontman for the Grammy winning Derek Trucks Band, sings lead on the easy grooving blues rocker “Can’t Fight Love”—which features Miles on the Hammond B-3.
Stewart’s strengths as a multi-faceted composer are showcased on the five tracks that he wrote or co-wrote. In addition to “Just For You,” he co-penned “Living The Life” with Miles and wrote the easy rolling, R&B and rock influenced title track with his longtime friend Shane Baldwin. The diversity of his artistry comes across on two songs he wrote himself--the hypnotic and whimsical acoustic ballad “Soothe My Soul” and the explosive “Blowing Smoke.” Other highlights include the Miles compositions “The Light At The End of the Tunnel” and “4 Tee and Dupree,” a jazz/funk tribute to the chemistry of the late masterful musicians Richard Tee and Cornell Dupree, with Stewart weaving his crisp lines between Miles’ piano and B-3 magic. Enjoy The Ride also includes an intense rock/soul free for all cover of “I’m A Man,” an early track by the band Chicago which was co-written by Steve Winwood.
“I can’t say that my music and being in the realm of law are completely separate worlds,” Stewart says. “I am a musician and I cannot turn it on and off. If there was a 12 step program for musicians I would have to stand in front of a group and say ‘My name is Jay, I play guitar.’ Now that I’ve completed my first project, I want to continue to work with great players and make music that moves people. Because of my career, I have a front row seat to see how hard it is in the world right now on a lot of levels. I want to make music that offers some relief to people. I want to play venues where people can get excited about these songs and I can invite them to chill out, let loose and Enjoy The Ride.”